Every day thousands of people get bitten by dogs, many of them with severe injuries that require medical attention. Children are the ones most vulnerable to serious injuries, especially on the face.
This is not a breed-related problem, although breeds can make a difference in training, this is a human problem because people must learn to properly train their dogs from puppies until they are adult dogs and continue training afterward.
This post is about dog training biting and how to avoid it, especially when your dog is still a puppy and easier to train. If your dog is already an adult dog, you should also check my other post on dog aggression training and How to be your dog chief (Alpha Leader).
Some people start correcting their puppies with shock collars or electronic dog fences (pif 300). This is wrong and it’s one of the main reasons this type of methods are so misunderstood. Only use these tools when your puppy is older than 6 months.
How to avoid dog biting by analyzing a dog’s behavior when he’s still a puppy in a litter.
When puppies are under 2 months old and socializing only with their mother and brothers in the litter, they learn every day when to bite, and how strong to bite. When a dog bites his mother too hard he will immediately be corrected with another bite on his back-neck.
That’s very unpleasant for the dog, and he learns that he must not bite too hard, especially to his leader (mother). On the other hand, when puppies bite each other and one of them bites too hard, the other puppy will yell in pain and the mother might intervene also. That’s also unpleasant and the dog will try to avoid this.
Fighting between puppies is normal and necessary for establishing hierarchy positions in the pack. This way they learn very soon how to behave in a pack.
This is very important for later training when you start interacting with your dog. If the dog is removed from the litter too soon, he might have never learned how to behave properly in a pack, and that way it will be very difficult for you to establish yourself as the pack leader because he won’t know what that is.
NOW THAT WE KNOW HOW AND WHY DOGS BITE WHEN THEY ARE JUST PUPPIES, LET’S SEE HOW WE CAN USE THAT TO OUR BENEFIT (AND THE DOG’S BENEFIT TOO):
When we take a puppy home, he will be removed from his pack (mother, brothers, and sisters), and will be introduced to a new pack (your family). He will start doing what he has done until now. Playing, biting and fighting with the members of your family.
Well, this was completely acceptable and necessary when he was with his brothers and sisters, but now you must be careful because every biting or strength demonstration from the puppy can be a normal reaction of trying to go up in the pack’s hierarchy.
You must not allow this, you and your family must always be on top of the hierarchy. Otherwise, you will be part of the statistics of humans that are bitten by their own dogs sooner or later.
“MY DOG IS ALWAYS BITING MY HANDS AND EVERYTHING HE ENCOUNTERS”
A dog bites, period. That’s a fact that cannot be denied. You have his owner must redirect him to the “safe” objects where he can bite and chew, never your family.
You must be thinking, of course, I would never redirect my dog to bite on my family. Well, believe it or not, most owners do exactly that without even knowing.
When a puppy arrives at your home, he is very cute and plays (bites) a lot and many owners allow the puppy to bite on their hands, arms, etc, because it doesn’t hurt. But the dog is learning that it’s ok to bite their owners, and therefore going up in the pack’s hierarchy.
If the dog bites you gently don’t correct him, redirect him to something safe where he can bite at will. But if the dog bites you harder then you must correct him.
Yell at him saying “NO” and stop playing with him for a few minutes. That way he will understand that he cannot bite hard, you are in control, and he won’t be playing anymore if he misbehaves.
After a few days or weeks depending on the amount of time you spend with your dog, he should have learned already that he can only bite gently (mouthing) on their owners, and that they (owners) are always in control of the playtime. Basically, the dog will know that if he plays correctly, he is allowed to play more time and without unpleasant corrections.
Remember that biting is an instinctive behavior, and cannot be eliminated entirely, but it can be redirected to “safe” objects (like toys, bones, etc) and minimized when the dog relates to humans or other dogs.
Don’t take these behaviors lightly because it can aggravate into a serious problem for your family and the dog.